The Denome’s Advocate: The case for impeachment

Sweat began to roll down the president’s head as each senator stood up. Legislator after legislator responded to the question of “Should the president be convicted of treasonous acts?” with an “aye.” When the 61st voice stood up and agreed to the motion, the president put the hands on his head. It was over.

This sounds like a pipe dream, or something out of House of Cards or a similar political show. But it very well could be the reality that President Trump has to deal with in the not-so-distant future.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, it’s hard to miss any of the bombastic acts involving the president over the past few weeks. Starting with the firing of FBI Director James Comey, a scandal-in-development has culminated to Trump’s recent admittance to giving highly-classified information to Russian diplomats.

First off, it’s important to note that neither of those acts, or anything that occurred in between, are technically illegal. It’s completely within the president’s power to fire the occupant of an unelected government position. It’s also within the president’s discretion to disclose classified information to whomever he chooses.

What the president can’t do and get away with, however, is treason. And by connecting the dots, it’s hard to deny that something is up with the Trump administration, at least enough to warrant an investigation and an independent special prosecutor.

Let’s take a look at the Comey firing. The former FBI Director was fired on May 9, with the justification being that he had mishandled the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Trump made the firing on recommendation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Before we even get into other reasons why Comey was terminated, let’s take a look at Trump’s claim. Did Comey really mishandle the Clinton investigation?

Considering that his poor judgement most certainly affected election results and likely handed Trump the presidency, yes, he did. But Trump clearly didn’t seem to think so back in October, when Comey announced the decision to reopen the Clinton investigation. At the time, he commented “Perhaps, finally, justice will be done.”

Not to mention, the Clinton investigation literally has no bearing on the nation at this time, considering that Clinton is as far away from public office as I am, theoretically. So it’s clear that Trump didn’t fire Comey because he was incompetent.

Perhaps it was the exact opposite.

Comey, as FBI Director, was also in charge of a completely separate criminal investigation into Trump’s supposed ties to Russia. It doesn’t take a genius to see why this would be a problem to Trump. It takes even less of a genius to see why Trump fired him. That’s especially clear, considering Trump was able to connect the dots.

So Comey is gone, potentially because he was beginning to make progress on the Russian investigation. And obviously, I’m far from the only person to speculate upon this. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) called for a special prosecutor mere hours after Comey’s firing.

A smart person would likely lie low if they were in Trump’s shoes. But as he has demonstrated numerous times, Donald Trump is not a smart person.

The meeting with Russia’s foreign minister proves that. At that meeting, Trump disclosed classified information to an adversary of the U.S. According to the Washington Post, who first reported the story, the classified information pertained to the fight against the Islamic State.

This news broke hours after the Post published a story about a crematorium being constructed by the government of Syria to hide mass executions in the Middle Eastern country’s notorious prisons. Interestingly, the Syrian government is propped up mainly by its alliance with Russia and President Bashar Al-Assad, a brutal dictator, likely only remains in power because of that alliance.

This is not the kind of country – one that supports a government responsible for thousands of extrajudicial killings, that we want to be fighting ISIS in collusion with. Nor should we be having warm relations with Russia. And it’s unacceptable that Trump fails to realize this. Not only does he fail to realize it, but he is actively undermining the ability of the U.S. to stand up to Russia when the time comes where ISIS is gone and Assad must be removed from power.

And this is where the word impeachment begins to get tossed around. Because while nothing Trump has admitted to doing or been proved doing is impeachable yet, everything that the actions point to him doing falls under the category of things that get a president removed from office.

Now, it’s far from easy to impeach a president. Assuming that a motion to impeach Trump even gets far enough, at least 13 Republican senators need to put country over party and vote to convict the president. It’s easy to say that moderate Republicans, like Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) or Susan Collins (R-ME) would vote yes, but that’s only three maybes. And who knows how much evidence an investigation would actually turn up against Trump?

Keep in mind, even if a special prosecutor was to be appointed and an independent investigation was to occur, there’s no guarantee that Trump doesn’t find another way to mess with the evidence. Think Watergate, for example. It’s far from Trump’s interests to let this investigation proceed. And he’s a president who has shown no reluctance to do shady things behind closed doors.

And ultimately, an impeachment of Trump would leave us with Vice President Mike Pence in charge. That’s preferable, but far from a good scenario. Pence is part of Trump’s inner circle too. There’s no telling what he’s entangled with as well, and it would be even harder to bring about an impeachment of Pence, considering his alliances on Capitol Hill.

So we’re likely stuck with a pretty corrupt government for a while. And while it would be nice to imagine Trump not in the Oval Office dining with Russian spies, Pence sitting down alone because he can’t bear the thought of being tempted by another woman isn’t much better. It’s pretty awful to think about, but it’s reality.

At least accept that it’s reality. That will make you better than the president.


The Denome’s Advocate is a bi-weekly political column.


Follow Thomas Denome on Twitter at @thomas_denome